News

Received NIH grant to study crowdsourced graph layouts

We received an NIH grant to study how crowdsourcing might be used to improve the layouts of biological graph visualizations. This project is a collaboration between Dr. Kurt Luther (MPI) and Dr. T.M. Murali (MPI) at Virginia Tech and Zooniverse, the world’s largest online citizen science portal. The grant is approximately $620,000 over two years and is part of the NIH’s Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) program.

Interviewed for IEEE Spectrum article on crowdsourcing

IEEE Spectrum, the flagship magazine of IEEE, interviewed Dr. Luther for an article about running successful crowdsourcing campaigns. Some of his comments:

After a project’s launch, says Kurt Luther, director of the Crowd Lab at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, collaborators must maintain open lines of communication and remember that contributors are real human beings. Developers, he says, tend to forget.

“Many project owners are software developers who think of the crowdsourced human intelligence in their systems as just another resource, like disk space or bandwidth,” Luther says. But if users are dehumanized and not treated well, word spreads fast through online forums.

Mapping the Fourth of July goes public

Mapping the Fourth of July in the Civil War Era has launched! Mapping the Fourth is a crowdsourced digital archive that explores how Americans celebrated the Fourth of July while their nation was being torn apart. It is built with Incite, a plug-in developed by the Crowd Lab for the Omeka content management system.

This project, funded by the National Archives, is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Dr. Paul Quigley (PI) of the History Dept., Dr. Kurt Luther (Co-PI) of the Computer Science Dept., and Dr. David Hicks (Co-PI) of the School of Education, all at Virginia Tech.

To help promote the launch, Virginia Tech wrote up a wonderful press release that was featured on the vt.edu home page all Fourth of July weekend. Additionally, Dr. Quigley mentioned the project in his op-ed on Civil War-era Independence Day in the Roanoke Times.